In a post last year I mentioned the Cable TV company's innovative method of dealing with bad debt. Truly bizarre, and surely against some EU law or other...
So, the house bills arrived. The Cable bill came late (again), and was already past due on arrival. You can't pay overdue bills in a local post office (well, you can if you fill out extra forms and pay extra charges) - so thousands of people go to the main Cable office instead. I wanted to ask about the bad debt, and Landlady - well, she wanted to have a stand-up row with someone about the bad debt - so off we went.
First we stopped off to pay electricity. As I'm paying, Landlady starts speaking loudly to the two people working in the office, gesturing at me. She's telling the story of me having to pay someone else's bad debt. The man serving me responds - he had the same problem: they tried to get him to pay 1k of someone else's debt. He got a lawyer. Never paid a penny.
Landlady is furious by the time we get to the Cable Folk. She explains the situation, and the woman behind the counter argues, smiling all the time. Landlady becomes very angry indeed. She turns as she's complaining, involving the people queueing behind us. A man steps forward - he has the same problem - 400 euros of debt. He doesn't even have cable, so he's not sure why he's paying.
I wonder if Landlady has any of her dog's valium on her. The arguments continue. Landlady threatens to go the tv, to the radio. The counter lady checks things up, consults some paperwork, goes upstairs, checks my ID. Yes, she finally admits, the people paid their debt in full.
Anyhoo, on to chicken-pictures! Here's the little minx who steals into Maggie's garden in Devon each morning. She pecks around the lawn nonchalantly, takes a furtive look around to see if she's being tailed, then ducks in to the border to lay her egg...
Maggie has two cats - who do absolutely nothing to help.